i8o A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
servitude and captivity and took them out of the valley of Goshen, along die old historic highway which, from times immemorial, was the road between Africa and Asia, the same road along which Napoleon was one day to ride his horse, to be nearly drowned when he reached its end at Suez.
Some of Moses* later history may be found in the Bible, sadly mixed up with mere hearsay.
In the old Testament we find a series of books called the Pentateuch, which are attributed to Moses. They contain the essence of such wisdom as Moses ostensibly wished to communicate to his people, coupled with more or less historical facts about the creation of the world and the early races of man.
Now Moses, as an Adept, knew and used the sacred writing of the initiates, i.e. the hieroglyphs in their third or secret spiritual meaning. When he completed the Pentateuch, he wrote the text in Egyptian hieroglyphs. Access to these texts was available to his initiated priests, who understood hieroglyphs. But when the Israelites had settled down in Palestine and centuries had rolled over their heads, the knowledge of the meaning of hieroglyphs had grown vague. Little by little the priesthood became less and less familiar with the characters and could only decipher them with difficulty. This is not surprising when we remember that, even in Egypt itself, by the fourth century A.D. the art of interpreting hieroglyphs had been completely lost. When, nearly a thousand years after the great exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, the elders of Israel put together that collection of books which we now call the Old Testament, the difficulties which faced them in trying to translate Moses* writings into Hebrew were immense. For Moses wrote as an Adept, but these elders, however learned, were not Adepts. Misunderstandings occurred most frequently; symbolic expressions were taken as literal facts; hieroglyphic pictures were taken as pictures of" existent things; and figurative phrases- were grievously misinterpreted. A single instance will suffice; the six days of creation meant, in Moses* mind,, six vast periods of time symbolically termed days for reasons which evety initiate knew. But the scholars who translated him literally, ically thought he meant days of twenty-four hours only.
Therefore, those cady books of the Bible yield peculiar notions when read literally—peculiar because mere everyday